Mahathir slams 'democratic terror'
In an apparent swipe at US, he accuses the 'great exponents of democracy' of launching 'vicious, massive retaliation'
YOGYAKARTA - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday accused the 'great exponents of democracy' of 'terrorising the world' after the Sept 11 attacks on the United States.
He did not name any country in his speech in this central Javanese town, but his comments appeared to be aimed at two of the outspoken leader's favourite targets: The United States and Israel.
'We see states launching vicious, massive retaliation, not just to kill the suspected terrorist but also his family, his home, his village and his town,' said Dr Mahathir, who is under fire for comments last week in which he maintained that 'Jews rule the world'.
'It would be ridiculous to think that such attacks do not terrorise the innocent. In fact the terror is even greater, it is systematic and executed with heavy weapons in the hands of trained soldiers.'
Dr Mahathir was in Yogyakarta to receive an award for promoting engineering in South-east Asia.
His latest verbal attack came as US President George W. Bush arrived in Bali for talks with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Muslim leaders, in a bid to explain Washington's war on terror.
A vehement critic of the West, his remarks last week that 'Jews rule the world' by proxy have sparked a wave of protest.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Monday that Mr Bush had pulled the Malaysian PM
aside at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok to denounce his 'wrong and divisive' comments.
But Dr Mahathir insisted a day later that the US President 'did not rebuke me'.
Giving his take on the matter, Mr Bush said yesterday that he had pulled Dr Mahathir aside to tell him personally that he thought those comments were 'reprehensible'.
'I said, 'They're divisive and unnecessary.' I didn't yell at him, I just told him, 'You can't pit groups against each other,' ' he told reporters on board Air Force One while heading for Australia.
'He knew how I felt, there's no question about that.'
Dr Mahathir had replied that his remarks were taken out of context, he added.
Mr Bush also worked to find a silver lining to Dr Mahathir's remarks, saying: 'He said that we need more education, a terrorist ban, which is good, that was positive.'
Yesterday, the Malaysian leader kept up his verbal salvoes, this time targeting 'the great exponents and practitioners of democracy'.
After the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, they 'believe that the way to spread doctrine and to break down resistance is by terrorising the world', he said.
He also criticised international financial institutions in his speech, saying the World Trade Organisation was 'being made into yet another instrument to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor'. -- AP
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